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November 30, 2009
Walkback complete: US recognizes winner in Honduran elections
What can you say? How often does the United States stake out a clear, unequivocal position on a major foreign policy event and then, over the course of a few months, slowly walkback from their original position to come around and embrace exactly the opposite point of view?
This is the Obama administration in all its amateurish glory. When Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was invited to leave back in June, the administration took the same side as the thugs and dictators of the world, calling it a "military coup" even though the Honduran Supreme Court had ruled the action legal and the Honduran parliament had passed a resolution supporting it.
The administration then imposed severe restrictions on visas for Honduras and other punishments in order to prove to the leftist thugs in Latin America like Chavez and Eva Morales that the US was on their side in the crisis. And notably, as late as September, the US was saying that they would not support or recognize the Honduran elections which took place yesterday.
Back then, according to this Bloomberg piece by Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, the United States stood against democracy in Honduras:
The U.S. won't recognize a scheduled November election in Honduras without a resolution to the political crisis that began with a coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya in June, a State Department aide said.
In case you were wondering, nothing has changed since this piece was written. Zelaya snuck back into the country and is hiding in the Brazilian embassy, but no "resolution" to the crisis by the "de facto" government has been realized.
Unless you want to say that free and fair elections in which 60% of the Honduran people went to the polls and voted to elect Porfirio Lobo, an opponent of ousted President Manuel Zelaya, by a landslide.
Funny how the Obama administration didn't announce their change in policy. They allowed South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint to break the good news to the American people earlier this month. DeMint had just returned from a trip to Honduras and reported on the "de facto" government's efforts to make the election inclusive, and fair.
Several Latin American countries - including, disappointingly, Brazil - will not recognize the vote. But it appears that Honduras has survived the effort to delegitimize its government by the US and other leftist bullies in the region.
The real story, of course, is the unbelievably amateurish actions of the Obama administration in not supporting democracy in Honduras in the first place. Many said at the time that the almost off the cuff reaction by the White House to Zelaya's ouster was mishandled from the start and based on incomplete information. This view was buttressed when, in August, the Law Library of the Library of Congress issued a report by the Congressional Research Service that declared the Honduran government's actions legal and justified. Democrats were furious and tried to get the report withdrawn - and for good reason. It made the president and his advisors look like they didn't know what they were doing.
So Honduras has a new president, elected by 56% of the voters, and Manuel Zelaya (whose term ends on January 27) will soon be a footnote in Honduran history. And as Mary O'Grady of the Wall Street Journal points out, it was the Honduran people and government - with no help from the US - who stood defiantly against most of the world and proved that they have what it takes to make democracy work.
The American people will not be informed of this pitiful about face by our government. But the Honduran people don't need our State Department's blessing or condemnation to know what they have accomplished this day.